The Sacrament of Healing – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff Podcast

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the Anointing of the Sick, known as one of the Sacraments of Healing.  He speaks of his personal experience with the sacrament and the importance of having it readily available for the faithful.  Msgr. Esseff also addresses particular issues related to laying on of hands.

 From the USSCB:

Jesus came to heal the whole person, body and soul.

In the Church’s Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.

The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient.

When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God’s will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.

~from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults en español




Scripture: Mark 1:40-45

40 And a leper came to him begging him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

WOM9 – The Liturgy of the Eucharist pt. 1 – The Way of Mystery with Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 9 -The Way of Mystery: The Eucharist and Moral Living–
The Liturgy of the Eucharist part 1: The offertory and the priesthood…what is the role of the priest in the sacrifice of the Mass and what are some of the challenges faced by the priest today.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.  

The Vatican II documents remind us that the spiritual journey is not made in a vacuum, that God has chosen to save us, not individually, but as The People of God. The Eucharist must help Christians to make their choices by discerning out of Christ’s paschal mystery. For this process to take place, however, Christians must first understand how the Eucharist puts them in touch with Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection, and what concrete implications being in touch with this mystery has for their daily lives.


Check out more episodes at “The Way of Mystery” Discerning Heart podcast page


ROHC-2 The Agony of Emotional Suffering – The Heart of Hope w/ Deacon James Keating Ph.D. – Discerning Hearts podcast

Heart of Hope Part 2 – The agony of emotional suffering and opportunities for deeper union with Jesus; the reason for pastoral ministry

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.

This extraordinarily popular series explores the work of suffering in the Christian life and how God can use it to transform the heart of the individual and the world.

The “Heart of Hope”  tackles a very tough subject…the gift of suffering in the Christian life.  Deacon Keating guides us well.

You can find other episodes in the Heart of Hope – Discerning Hearts series page


IJCY1-Is Jesus Calling You with Fr. Paul Hoesing episode 1 – Discerning Hearts podcast

Fr. Paul Hoesing - Is Jesus Calling You? Discerning Your Vocational Call 3

Is Jesus Calling?  A Spiritual Guide to Discerning Your Vocational Call with Fr. Paul Hoesing – episode 1:  Introduction – Whether it’s to the priesthood, religious life, married life…discerning what our vocation is can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be.  Fr. Hoesing discusses what discernment is, what the process is like, and what can help guide us along the way.

Based on “Is Jesus Calling You To Be A Catholic  Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.

Fr. Paul Hoesing serves at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary as Dean of Seminarians & Director of Human Formation

ROF#7 – The Clergy – Love’s Earthly Form – Roots of the Faith with Mike Aquilina

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5

Episode 7 – The Clergy: Love’s Earthly Form

Roots of the Faith – From the Church Fathers to You with Mike Aquilina, makes clear that just as an acorn grows into a tree and yet remains the same plant, so the Catholic Church is a living organism that has grown from the faith of the earliest Christians into the body of  Christ we know today.


Pick up a copy of Mke’s book. You’ll find so much more and invaluable references and resources, as well

Also, visit Mike’s “Discerning Hearts” page for more audio downloads and information!

DWG6 – “What am I to do?” The Discernment of God’s Will in Everyday Decisions w/Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Fr_TimEpisode 6 “What am I to do?” The Discernment of God’s Will in Everyday Decisions w/Fr. Timothy Gallagher

This episode offers Fr. Gallagher discusses the call to the marriage vocation and the call to the religious life.  What are the differences found in each and how do we begin to discern our call.


For other episodes in the series visit The Discerning Hearts “Discerning the Will of God” page

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”.

For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:


For the other episodes in this series check out Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s “Discerning Hearts” page


IJCY7-Is Jesus Calling You with Fr. Paul Hoesing episode 7

Is Jesus Calling? A Spiritual Guide to Discerning Your Vocational Call with Fr. Paul Hoesing – episode 7: It’s all about relationship.  What to do now.

1. Go to Mass, if possible, daily Mass
2. The sacrament of confession
3. Daily Prayer
4.  Talk to a priest
5.  Read the Gospels
6.  Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
7.  Eucharistic adoration
8.  Live a life of virtue
9.  Spiritual reading
10.  Hang around good people


Based on “Is Jesus Calling You To Be A Catholic Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.

Fr. Paul Hoesing serves as the Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha, NE.
Check out “F
or Your

IJCY6-Is Jesus Calling You with Fr. Paul Hoesing episode 6

Is Jesus Calling? A Spiritual Guide to Discerning Your Vocational Call with Fr. Paul Hoesing – episode 6: The Eighth Spiritual Lesson: The will of the spirit against Christ is revealed in fear. “This spirit against Christ drives a man by a fear of something false.  While the Spirit of Christ draws a man by a peaceful presence to something that is true.”

Questions: Does your fear come when you are desiring to do God’s will and the thought of you choosing not to do His will causes your fear?  Or, rather, does your fear come when you are focused on what you want and the thought that God might want something different makes you afraid;   if so, identify that as the will of the spirit against Christ and turn away from it, inviting Christ into the situation by repeating a simple prayer like, “Jesus I trust in you!”

The Ninth Spiritual Lesson: You must stand firm in faith in what you received from God. “This is the essential choice.  If one does not make this choice, his spiritual life will be the experience of a ping pong ball, bouncing back and forth, believing one desire one day and the opposite one the next.  He will be a confused man.”

Questions: Do you have moments in prayer where the next step you are to take becomes quite clear from the experience of the peace of Christ, but then you believe and follow the thoughts, feelings, and desires in the fear flowing from the spirit against Christ, causing you to change your mind and not move forward?  Identify those movements and cling to Christ during them by praying, “Jesus, I I trust in you.”

Based on “Is Jesus Calling You To Be A Catholic Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.

Fr. Paul Hoesing serves as the Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha, NE.
Check out “F
or Your

IP#212 Fr. Joseph Fessio – Married Priests? on Inside the Pages

“Married Priests? 30 Crucial Questions about Celibacy” is the go to book when seeking answers to just about everything related to the  Church’s teaching and exprience in regards to priestly celibacy.  With Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J., Fr.-Fessioeditor and founder of Ignatius Press the publisher of this work, we discuss several of those questions.  Why do Catholic priests not marry? How can celibacy possibly be so important to the Church, if Jesus did not even require it of his apostles?   How does this discipline play into the discernment for this particular vocation?  We also discuss the vocation of Marriage, and the state of Church in America from Fr. Fessio’s prespective.  It is always a joy to have the opportunity to talk with Fr. Fessio.


You can find the book here

From the book description:

In recent years the arguments in favor of openness to married priests seem to be multiplying. Some object that celibacy is not a dogma but only a discipline that originated in the Middle Ages; that it is contrary to nature and hence harmful for a man’s psycho-physical equilibrium and the maturation of the human personality. And then, if priests could marry, there would be an increase in vocations.

In this book, seventeen various experts make contributions, responding to these and other burning objections, allowing the reader to discover the value that celibacy has today in the lives of thousands of priests and seminarians.

Among the key topics this book discusses are: History of Priestly Celibacy, What Theology Says on the Celibacy, Emotions and Sexuality, Discerning and Fostering a Vocation, Celibacy in the Life of a Priest, Celibacy and Inculturation, Papal teachings on Celibacy from Pius XI to Benedict XVI.

Holy Thursday and the Role of the Priesthood in the Life of the Church – Discerning Hearts

 Msgr. Esseff offers a reflection on the Priesthood, particularly in the light of the Holy Thursday liturgy.  The priesthood of the baptized is so very important, the role for each of us to be Jesus in the world today; however, those who have been called to the vocation of priesthood have a particular mission to fulfill.  Msgr. Esseff discusses the importance of the priests relationship with God, the Father and his unique role in the celebration of the Holy Mass.  He also talks of the need of prayer for priests and the value of priestly friendship.

St. Thomas Becket, loyal son of the Church, martyr and saint

And what would happen next………

A strong man who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil and so became a strong churchman, a martyr and a saint—that was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.

His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. When Henry felt it advantageous to make his chancellor the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry’s intrusions into Church affairs. Nevertheless, he was made archbishop (1162), resigned his chancellorship and reformed his whole way of life!

Troubles began. Henry insisted upon usurping Church rights. At one time, supposing some conciliatory action possible, Thomas came close to compromise. He momentarily approved the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would have denied the clergy the right of trial by a Church court and prevented them from making direct appeal to Rome. But Thomas rejected the Constitutions, fled to France for safety and remained in exile for seven years. When he returned to England, he suspected it would mean certain death. Because Thomas refused to remit censures he had placed upon bishops favored by the king, Henry cried out in a rage, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!” Four knights, taking his words as his wish, slew Thomas in the Canterbury cathedral.

Thomas Becket remains a hero-saint down to our own times. From Saint of the Day

For a greater telling of this saint’s life – EWTN Library

Note: T. S. Eliot wrote a play — “Murder in the Cathedral” — about his life, and a movie — “Becket” (1964) — starring Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton has been made, too

Prayer for St. Thomas a Becket

Taken from the Roman Missal.

O God, for the sake of whose Church the glorious Bishop Thomas fell by the sword of ungodly men: grant, we beseech Thee, that all who implore his aid, may obtain the good fruit of his petition. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

Faith Check 28 – Supporting our Priests

Supporting our Priests

I once spoke with a priest of a large suburban parish with thousands of members, who told me that he could count the number of dinner invitations he had received over the past year from his parishioners on one hand.  This shocked me as I knew he was very busy with his ministry, and I assumed that he was frequently invited to the homes and activities of his parishioners.  Yet such was not the case.

It is easy to take our priests for granted.  Our priests are men who have sacrificed everything—marriage, family, children—for the sake of the Gospel.1  And yet they are but men who, like everyone, need to be encouraged, welcomed, and loved.

Let us find ways to involve them in the lives of our families.  Let us pray for them that they will grow in the grace of God and be protected from the attacks of the enemy;

And let us pray the Lord to send more priestly laborers into the harvest fields, so that the People of God might be sanctified, supported, and led in our earthly pilgrimage toward our Father’s House.

1 –  cf. Mt. 19:10-12; 1 Cor. 7:32-35

Cardinal Arinze on the Sacred Liturgy and the life of the Priest

Cardinal Arinze, on September 21, 2011, spoke with priests of the Archdiocese of Omaha on the Sacred Liturgy of the Church and unique and specific role of the priest.

Francis Cardinal Arinze discussed the Sacred Liturgy as central to the life and ministry of the priest.  He discusses what the Sacred Liturgy is,  he summarizes the ministry of the priest in its three-fold aspect and then sets out how the Sacred Liturgy effects the personal life of the priest.  How he celebrates it matters very much.

This is a very important prospective for all the members of the Church to hear!

Event sponsored by the Pro Sanctity Movement

The Priesthood and the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Discerning Hearts

Msgr. Esseff continues his reflections in the Chapel of Apparitions located in Paray le Monial, France.

Msgr. Esseff opens up the special call priests have in bringing the Sacred Heart to the world.  He also brings forward the prophetic message of Pope Paul VI in 1970 which he warns of the attack of the evil one on the priesthood in particular over a 40 year period.  The priesthood of this time is truly the pierced heart of Christ.

Be sure to visit “Building a Kingdom of Love”

IJCY5-Is Jesus Calling You with Fr. Paul Hoesing episode 5

Is Jesus Calling? A Spiritual Guide to Discerning Your Vocational Call with Fr. Paul Hoesing – episode 5: The Sixth Spiritual Lesson: Your fear is from the spirit against Christ. “God does not reveal himself through fear, pressure or confusion.  This where the spirit against Christ reveals himself.”

Questions: What are your ideas and images of god the Father and how do they differ from what Jesus teaches us about the Father?  Do you see the Father as someone who pressures you to do things?  Where does fear drive your relationship with the Father?  Recall your latest experience of peace, stillness, clarity and gratitude in God and believe that that is how the Father draws you?

The Seventh Spiritual Lesson: God’s will is found in your will when you are in Christ. “God’s will, His desire for you, is not out there somwhere!  It is found in your own desire when you are in Christ!  That is the will of God for you!”

Questions: Does the thought of the priesthood come into your thoughts, feelings and desires when you are experiencing the peaceful presence of God?


Based on “Is Jesus Calling You To Be A Catholic Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.

Fr. Paul Hoesing serves as the Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha, NE.
Check out “F
or Your

IJCY2-Is Jesus Calling You: Discerning Your Vocation with Fr. Paul Hoesing episode 2

Is Jesus Calling? A Spiritual Guide to Discerning Your Vocational Call with Fr. Paul Hoesing – episode 2: Discerning Your Vocation The First Spiritual Lesson:  You Must Follow Christ.  “Discovering one’s vocation is not a navel-gazing, self-focused, psychological exercise.   It’s not about a man figuring something out.  It is not about solving a confusing puzzle.”

Questions: Where have you encountered Christ?  Where do you experience his loving presence now for you?   Where do you feel consciously blessed and grateful for what God has done for you?

The Second Spiritual Lesson: Learn to desire what God desires for you. “All you need is to desire whatever God may desire for you. Remaining true to this desire opens your heart to receive what God wants for you. Then, God Himself will take care of you.”

Questions: Do you trust that God always wants what is best for you? Where do you begin to become afraid of giving God permission to lead you? When do you begin to try to manipulate God to want what you think will make you happy? When that happens, simply say over and over again inside of yourself to the Father, ‘Father, I give you permission to lead me!’ Or ‘Father, I desire your goodness to me.’ Or, ‘Father, I trust you’”

Based on “Is Jesus Calling You To Be A Catholic Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.


Fr. Paul Hoesing serves as the Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha, NE.
Check out “For Your

Discerning Your VocationDiscerning Your Vocation



IP#65 Sr. Briege McKenna – The Power of the Sacraments part 2 on Inside the Pages

Part 2 of 3…Sr. Briege McKenna O.S.C. is a tremendous blessing for all of us in the Church! The Power of the Sacraments” is a beautiful work which helps us all to appreciate the gift of grace that flows through the sacraments. There is such a hunger in the hearts of God’s children today for healing and peace. Sr. Briege, in her beautiful maternal nurturing way, helps us to see that the answer is right in front of us reaching out to us right now…he is Jesus Christ. “Miracles Do Happen” is her beautiful book recounting her miraculous healing and her call to mission to the world. It also expresses her great love and concern for the priesthood. Her insights are tremendous…her love for Christ and her bride, the Church, is a glorious witness and light for today’s world. She is truly one of the most inspiring persons I have ever encountered!

Click here to be taken to Sr. Briege’s website “St. Clare Sisters Retreat Ministry”

You can find both of Sr. Briege McKenna’s books here

For more information:

St. Clare Sisters Retreat Ministry
P.O. Box 1559
Palm Harbor, FL 34682, U.S.A.

Office: #727-786-3821
Fax: #727-787-3741
Prayerline: #727-781-5906

For more Sister Briege on Inside the Pages:

IP#64 Sr. Briege McKenna – The Power of the Sacraments part 1 on Inside the Pages

IP#66 Sr. Briege McKenna – The Power of the Sacraments part 3 on Inside the Pages

[email protected]
[email protected]

IP#27 Gregory Erlandson – Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Scandal Part 1 on Insides the Pages

Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Scandal is an important contribution to the understanding and healing of the great heartache that has inflicted the Church over the last 30 years.  Talking with Gregory Erlandson was a great opportunity to realize the nuisances of what got us here, but also the response and hope that leads us to the future.

The wonderful David Scott, put it best:

This is Catholic journalism at its best. Erlandson and Bunson are two of most knowledgeable people in the world on the Church and this book shows it. Good reporting, sharply written, smart analysis, not afraid of the hard questions–even if the answers don’t always put the Church in the best light. This book should be in every mainstream newsroom in the country. It offers a definitive historical overview of the abuse scandal and Pope Benedict’s role, first as head of the Vatican’s doctrine office and now as Pope. This should be an eye-opener for those who think Benedict has been negligent or worse. The facts just don’t support the conclusions that the mainstream media has been insisting upon. In addition to good reporting, this book provides excellent documentation–full texts of every reference Benedict has made on the crisis, including his addresses to the U.S. bishops and his historic letter to the people of Ireland. A good read and an essential reference.

Find more this book at

IP#18 Fr. Alfred McBride – A Priest Forever on Inside the Pages

It’s always a rich joy to spend time with Fr. Alfred McBride.  In ” A Priest Forever:  Nine Signs of Renewal and Hope”, Father McBride brings forward not only his master catechetical skills, but his deep love for the vocation he has lived all these many years.  Though crisis may be rocking the Church with the current priest abuse scandals in other parts of the world, Fr. McBride helps us to see the rays of the Father’s  grace and mercy which are bringing about renewal and hope in the face of the storm.

Fr. McBride’s book is published by
St. Anthony Messenger Press

IP#16 Fr. Donald Calloway – No Turning Back on Inside the Pages

The story of a modern day St. Augustine.  Fr. Donald Calloway would blush at the comparison, but the power found in his story of conversion and transformation is life changing for many who hear or read about it.  And add in the influence of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary and watch out, you to may be drawn deeper into the heart of Christ and His Divine Mercy.  A great read and a wonderful interview, with Fr. Calloway there is “No Turning Back”!

Find Fr. Donald Calloway’s book or for more information go to

Here is another interview we had with Fr. Calloway concerning “Blessed Virgin Mary and the Theology of the Body

IP#10 Mark Brumley – Ignatius Press and The Catholic Truth Society on Inside the Pages

Have you ever heard of  “The Catholic Truth Society”? Well thanks to Ignatius Press, you are about to.  In this edition of “Inside the Pages”, I talk with Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press and whois one of the leading Catholic apologists in the country (he’s also a really nice guy as well).  Ignatius Press is bringing the booklets, leaflets and tracks from the Society to America, and they’re fantastic.  The authors found on these booklets are enough to crow about, but the titles are so good…wow…beyond excellent.  You don’t want to miss them.  Take a look HERE! In this episode we talk the new evangelization, saints, history, apologetics…you name it.

Here are just some of the conversations Bruce and I have had with Mark Brumley in the past 

Mark Brumley Did Jesus Really Rise.mp3

Mark Brumley Handbook of Catholic Apologetics.mp3

Mark Brumley Jesus of Nazareth Study Guide.mp3

Mark Brumley Lost Gospels.mp3

IP#5 Scott Hahn – “Many Are Called” on Inside the Pages

It just doesn’t get much better!  Wow, to be able to have a good sit down chat with Dr. Scott Hahn…what a blessing!  Especially when it’s about topics he loves.  It becomes faith formation rolled into evangelaztion, added with good does of joy and humor.  In this case, our conversation centers around his new book “Many Are Called:  Redicovering the Glory of the Priesthood”!  It’s fantastic…every domestic church should have this in their library.  And Dr. Hahn is ALWAYS a blast to speak with and listen to, what a gift for us all!


Click here to purchase Dr. Hahn’s new book online at

Other Dr. Scott Hahn interviews in the Spirit Mornings Show archives:
Scott Hahn 01-25-07.mp3
Scott Hahn EWTN 25 Segment.mp3
10-02-07 Scott Hahn – Hour 1 Segment 1.mp3
10-02-07 Scott Hahn – Hour 1 Segment 2.mp3
10-02-07 Scott Hahn – Hour 2 Segment 1.mp3
10-02-07 Scott Hahn – Hour 2 Segment 2.mp3
Scott Hahn 07-07-09.mp3
08-04-09 Scott Hahn.mp3
Scott Hahn Signs of Life.mp3

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